Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Scientist: Dinosaurs May Rule Alien Worlds

The Register relates another paper published in the Cornell Earth and Planetary Astrophysics Journal that the Yucatan strike shot out meteors laden with bits of dinosaur DNA which in turn found root on other planets, eventually evolving into dinosaur-like life forms.

Riiiiight.  It’s kind of funny to see “Scientists” and “Dinosaurs Rule Alien Worlds” in the same headline.  Well, not if I was reading Weekly World News.

So basically, this stuff got ejected fast enough to reach escape velocity and leave the atmosphere, then survived millions of miles of interstellar travel through absolute zero and unshielded stellar radiation, survived re-entry and impact into primoridial goo, then…POOF…began to spontaneously replicate, combine, reproduce, and eventually increase in complexity until…DINOSAUR SCIENTISTS!

Because creationism is just soooo unscientific it can’t even be considered by “legitimate” scientists.  Not even dinosaur scientists.

Seriously, though.  If life is spawned on other planets because of meteors laden with all sorts of juicy and frisky amino acids and dinosaur DNA being launched into space because of the impact of other meteors…where’d the first impact come from?  This theory, like so many others, continues to skirt the issue of initial causality.  Sure, it “explains” how the aminos, microbes, whatever got HERE…but it only forestalls the important question of where did the ORIGINAL SEED MATERIAL come from?  It doesn’t answer The Question, it merely asks the question differently.

…I want to see Nature’s Engineering Degree!

Yet another installment of, “How an Incredible Design TOTALLY Supports the Theory of Evolution!”  Courtesy of Wired Magazine.

High-Speed Video of Locusts Could Help Make Better Flying Robots

Oh how I long for the day when the evolutionist crowd can manage to kick out some puff piece without anthropomorphizing inanimate objects or non-sentient critters.  But that day is not today.

Even though researchers have been studying how insects and other creatures fly for a long time, “we still don’t completely understand the aerodynamics and architectures of wings,” comments Tom Daniel of the University of Washington in Seattle

Because, you know, the best minds in modern science and engineering still struggle to understand just HOW all these things work, given that they all came about through random chance.  Design? We understand. Blueprints?  No problem.  Complex computer algorithms and microchips? Got it handled.  How a hummingbird really works?  Not a clue.

What locusts lack in agility, they make up for in distance: the four-winged insects are built to fly hundreds of miles at a time.

D’oh!  We should make this into a drinking game.  Any time an article nominally in support of evolution uses the words, “built” or  “designed” you have to take a swig.

Most earlier models of insect flight relied on stiff, straight wings, overlooking the important effects of flexibility and shape, says Thomas. “Engineers like these things simple,” he says. But this new study shows that wings with a little flop can actually get more air-pushing lift from each flap.

Hmmm.  Engineers learning from nature.  Amazing what that random optimization thing can do for you, eh?

Figuring out the details of how locusts and other insects fly may help researchers design tiny robotic fliers. “There is a growing interest in the exploration of micro air vehicles,” says Daniel. “Nature’s designs may be useful in creating synthetic ones.”

DRINK!

It is amazing to me that engineers can’t seem to recognize the work of a fellow designer.  It’s like someone who want’s to design a better timepiece looking at a fine Swiss watch for ideas, without ever acknowledging or addressing the question of the origin of the original design.

Whatever lets you sleep at night, I guess.

Despite the title, according to this article, there is no “.vs” between evolution and design.

Prehistoric mammal swung tail like baseball bat

Or..at least, we’re pretty sure, kinda, but it sounds like a good script!

The findings about glyptodonts — which looked like a cross between an armadillo and a Volkswagen beetle car — apply to dinosaurs that also had spiked tails, the team of researchers believes.

Any time you see the words, “researchers believe,” please feel free to replace with, “we’re pretty much just making this shit up as we go along.”  Same diff.

Glyptodonts lived in both South and North America, first emerging around 2.5 million years ago and going extinct 8,000 years ago, possibly due to hunting by humans.

Wait.  I thought that the idea that dinosaurs and humans lived together during the same period was solely the purview of a bunch of wacky creationist types?  I’m confused.   I thought “faith” and “science” can’t mix, and yet here we have these scientists rambling on about their beliefs.  Hmm.

The study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, “reinforces the idea that in that (sweet spot) was something useful to cause more damage during an impact,” Blanco said, adding that glyptodonts might have evolved this defensive technique to help fight off “terror birds,” prehistoric South America’s dominant predator.

(Please apply the same grammatical rule to “might” as that proposed for “researchers believe.”)

And of course, my all-time favorite, the ubiquitous and seemingly unavoidable imputation of will and intent to the marginally sentient in deciding to “evolve”.  Can’t you just picture the conversation at one of their weekly staff meetings?

Uh, hey guys? GUYS?! Yeah, well, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, a lot of us have been getting knocked off lately by these freakingly hellish terror bird thingies.  And I, for one, am just flat stumped as to what to do about it.  Any ideas?

It is then that Walter, heretofor a fairly quiet and unassiming sort, rather tentatively raises a proto-metatarsal and tremulously suggests, “Well, uhm, I mean, you know, we COULD evolve a defense.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about trying to grow some spikes in the middle of my tail, maybe add a little bone density down there.  I’m pretty sure it would work.”

The assembled glyptodonts sit for a moment in stunned silence, and then suddenly all are shouting at once.  What an idea!  Walter, you’ve done it!  Walter for President!  Woo-hoooo!

Utter freaking genius, that Walter.

Glyptodonts might have therefore evolved their body armor, not to mention their spiked tails, to withstand this bird’s potentially deadly kicks.

Another of Walter’s breakthrough ideas.  One thing though:  Walter sort of left out the “how” of reprogramming his DNA in response to the external stimuli provided by Raptor-lite.  The key element in the logical disconnect of it all is that one word “therefore.”  Therefore” implies a cause-and-effect relationship, a stimulus -response action.  “I experienced this, THERFORE, I took this action.”  “I analyzed these facts, and therefore, I came to this conclusion.”  One might attempt to chalk it up to a meaningless grammatical slip or colloquialism, but this kind of thing is so prevalent in these kinds of articles that I don’t think we can’t call it a typo.  It reveals a trend in thought, a propensity for ascribing motive, ability and aforethought to a series of responses to environmental conditions or changes.

In addition to defense against predators, Blanco and his colleagues believe glyptodonts used their tails in fights against each other over territory, food, mates and more.

Ah yes, more “beliefs.”  They have to use the word “believe” here because they have no evidence for these assertions, other than, “Well, sounds kinda plausible to me based on other things I’ve seen.”  These scientists have no ability to observe glyptodonts in the wild, to observe their actual behavior, and so must make deductions and inferences based on mostly anecdotal evidence, no matter how sketchy.  Which, I’m told, is a methodology summarily dismissed as “unscientific” when attributed to Creationists.

Potato, putahto.

Hutchinson said he was surprised by “how the positions of spikes and nubbins on the tail clubs in a variety of species seem to line up pretty well with the mechanically most reasonable positions.”

He concluded, “That’s what evolution should produce, of course, but it’s always satisfying finding different kinds of evidence for sufficiently good biological design.”

I am continually amazed at dissonance reduction that goes on with these people, whereby the better the “design” of a species or an apparent adaptation, the better the case for the amazing efficacy of evolution.

I, for one, have to heartily agree with Mr. Hutchinson on this one.  I am continually gratified to find evidence of biological design in nearly ever aspect of our creation.  God’s hand in the amazing workmanship and incredible complexity of the life around us simply cries out in support of design.

It’s heartening to see the academic community finally coming around to embrace the same ideas.

Let’s run through that quote one more time.  “Evolution should produce…evidence for sufficiently good biological design.”

That Walter.  What a freakin’ genius.  Here our most advance scientists struggle to map and understand DNA and the human genome, and yet, millions of years ago critters like Walter had already figured out how to redesign themselves to not only be more resistant to predators, but to optimize their design in a variety of insightful and provocative ways.

So, in review, evidence of design supports the theory of evolution.  No further discussion required, and certainly no alternate or competing theories need be entertained.  Moving on…

UPDATE:

Found this from one of the auto-links on this post:

However, Kenneth Miller does give some insight on where the attack is coming next. It is teaching the “controversy.” A controversy that is wholly politically manufactured and not scientific. It also comes from an attempt to discredit evolution by holding it to an impossible burden of proof. The reason is that it is impossible is that the people in the movement take it as an article of faith that evolution must be false because it contradicts their religious view of an inerrant religious text or their interpretation of it. That is not a rational standard, but rather an irrational one which is why Kenneth Miller’s remark that everything is at stake is not an understatement.

Replace creationism with evolution, and science with religion:

It also comes from an attempt to discredit creationism by holding it to an impossible burden of proof. The reason is that it is impossible is that the people in the movement take it as an article of faith that creationism must be false because it contradicts their scientific view of an inerrant scientific [theory] or their interpretation of it. That is not a rational standard, but rather an irrational one which is why [Kenneth Miller’s] remark that everything is at stake is not an understatement.

Evidence must only be examined within the context of evolution.  Evidence can never disprove evolution, only modify the theory.  Any other approach is apparently holding science to an impossible standard, the very approach they take with creationists.  They are blind to their own hypocrisy.

Whoa, I got a somebody-a-lanche on my Media coverage post.  Don’t know who linked me, but thanks!

Other Opinings:

~  I’ve never understood people who can’t bring themselves to believe in God, but will readily profess that they think The Universe has a plan for them, or that the Universe is trying to tell them something.  I’m sorry, but if thinking that God talks to you means you are a loony, what does thinking that the Universe is talking to you say about your mental stability?

~ This is perhaps the best, most succinct summation of my problems with much of traditional thoughts on evolution in a comment to a post by Professor Bob over at Mitchieville:

Never understood this kind of anthropomorphizing when it comes to evolution:

Evolution is nature’s mechanism for modifying a species over time to suit the local environment.

You should be capitalizing Nature in this sentence, as your are treating is as a proper noun. Nature, in “her” wisdom, “uses” evolution to “modify” species based on her perception of their needs relative to their environment?

Nature is truly a maginifcent engineer, designer and programmer! Wait…I thought this stuff was all random and unguided by anything but happenstance? Selection by reduction and elimination, not by optimized adaptation.

Also, sentient trees?

to whom it provides, deliberately,

How does a tree “deliberately” provide food and shelter to ants? Are you suggesting that it is “aware” of its ant protectors, and conciously makes “efforts” to ensure that they are well-provided for? Where does TreeBeard fall in all this? Or the Forestalls?

I often challenge evolutionists to defend their viewpoints without resulting to anthropomorphic language. Species cannot “adapt themselves” to the environment, unless they can somehow perceive changes in their environment and then encode changes into their DNA based on this input. To date, no mechanism for such a step has been identified.

If an environmental variable changes enough to result in attrition of a species, only those members who, by whatever random mutation have those traits necessary to survive already resident in their DNA will prevail.

For pure evolution to work, Nature cannot “adapt” a species to survive…it will survive merely by the luck of the draw.

Or it isn’t evolution.

I can adapt to my surroundings. If it is cold, I put on a coat. If it is hot, I drink extra water and change to flip flops and hawaiian shirts.   If an animal’s primary food supply suddenly becomes available, it must find something else to eat.  Only those within the species that can already metabolize the new food source will survive.  The others will die off.  Thus, no NEW information is introduced into the DNA, but rather, merely utilization of that which was already there, if dormant.  This is optimization, not evolution.  Survival of the fittest merely optimizes an existing genus, it cannot account for the introduction of a NEW species.

It’s not like the hapless lizard or ocelot, when suddenly faced with a new environmental variable, goes: 

“Hmm, no more catus pears.  Only pomegranates.  Noted.  Got it.  Stand-by.

{{nnnuuugghhhhh…hhhrrrmmmmm…eeeerrrrrrrgggghhh..{{whirl, clank, beep, KA-CHING!}}}}

There!  I am now able to eat pomegranates where before I could only eat cactus pears.  SOUPS ON, HOGS!”

~ Lastly, and completely unrelated to anything previous in this post, I continue to be amazed at the alacrity with which broad swaths of the Prog culture have managed to forget the last eight years of insanely partisan protests charged with high dudgeon and frothingly caustic rhetoric condeming the Bush administration for all manner of crimes against humanity, to include planning and conducting the attacks of 9/11, replete with inflammatory and violent images calling for Bush and Cheney’s respective heads.

Such that now, somehow markedly less strident if not less fervent protests against economic policies which most sane minds would agree will prove our nation’s undoing are greeted with fear, condemnation and clucking reproof by the media and prog commentators.  When the progs do it, no matter how hyperbolic or bellicose, it’s speaking the truth to power, free speech, and standing up for what you believe in!  When anybody else does it….it’s DANGEROUS insurrection which needs to be watched with the utmost suspicion and prudence.

Remember, the only acceptable form of revolution is a Marxist revolution.

Climate change scientists and researchers who rely on Government grants for their livelihood, are apparently insisting that more government grants are needed to adequately study climate change.  Shocking, I know.

Scientists: U.S. not prepared for severe weather, climate change 
{insert sirens, screaming, clips of black and white 1950’s B-movie disaster films, giant mutant ants eating police cars, etc.}}

Wow.  I’m shocked I tell you, just shocked!  In related news, foxes call for building of more hen houses for them to guard.

Now, I know the link is from “just a blog,” but it’s from a CNN blog, right?  Doesn’t that make it subject to all those multiple layers of fact checking and all that?  And yet this thing is the single greatest testament to the maddening doublespeak and vague obfuscation used so often by the global warming climate change nuts that I’ve seen in a while.  But wait, it get’s better…

Scientists cannot fully understand or deal with the impacts of climate change without the proper political leadership, and without funding for scientific observation and computing.

Scientists cannot fully understand climate change without the proper political leadership.  Just sort of savor that for a minute; let it roll around the ganglia and sink in a bit.  The trained, educated, Masters and PHD holding elite of the intelligentsia are struggling to understand climate change because they don’t have the right kind of POLITICAL leadership?  Huh?!

The scientists are making five recommendations they say will improve the country’s resilience to severe weather and climate change

Because without a full-on media blitz and complete with streaming video and annoying pop-up ads, the American people will be left to just blindly deal with seasonal weather extremes like they’ve been doing for the last 230+ years.  And the price tag for all this?

The group says lawmakers will need to add about $9 billion to the current $10 billion that is budgeted over the next five years.

But wait a minute!  I thought global warming climate change was a forgone conclusion, a done deal, an immutable fact right up there with evolution and the 9/11 coverup?  You mean {{shocked gasp}} there are things we don’t know?  Can’t predict?  Are inadequately measuring?  OH. THE. HORROR!   And then of course, from the Blinding Flash of the Obvious department, we get this little jewel:

Whether it is hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, snow, or drought, 75% of natural disasters around the world are triggered by weather and climate.

That’s right folks, you heard it here first.  Tornadoes, floods, snow and drought are caused by…wait for it…WEATHER.  And not just weather, but EXTREME weather.  Weather we will quite simply be unable to understand or predict without 19 Billion dollars in additional federal funding.

But wait, I say again.  I thought we had a “consensus” from the “majority of scientists” throught the “global scientific community” penning all sorts of strident missives about the types, severity, and near imminence of doom based on global warming climate change?  Did this lady not get the memo about “don’t mess with the meme?”

“Frankly, we think this is one of the most pressing problems facing humankind, but it just happens to be on a longer scale than a lot of problems our country faces,” said Fellows.

That’s right.  We need to be long-visioned about this, invest in the future, prepare our country for the worst.  Except when it comes to drilling for oil, because we won’t see any results for 7-10 years, you know.

So, in conclusion, global warming climate change is a confirmed fact, even though we don’t know enough about it because Washington has short-changed us on the funds.  And we can predict all sorts of dire consequences to global warming climate change, complete with fancy graphs and pie charts, and cool multi-media morphing animations showing jungles getting swallowed up by deserts, but you know, we can’t do REALLY cool graphs and 3D CGI graphics and cutting edge holographic surround-sound experience-based “teaching tools” at museums and theme parks, because the Government is more worried about funding the military and feeding the poor, and such.  Short-sighted mouth breathers that they are.  We must act now!

I dearly love the fact that in the entire linked article, the words “global warming” are nowhere to be found.  This term is now tres passe’.  Why, you ask?  Because in my neck of the woods, in Spokane, WA, they’ve experienced one of the coolest summers on record.  The temperature this week has been in the 50’s, with rain and hail.  In AUGUST.  So the term “global warming” rings a little hollow, and now it’s “climate change” and “extreme weather.”

And “give us more funding or we’ll all die.”  Subtle, guys.  Subtle.

UPDATE:
Me, I question the timing.  I have this vague suspicion that the thinly veiled suggestion of stronger “political leadership” in the area of climate change might, just MIGHT be meant to suggest that we elect someone a little stronger on the whole global warming thing than, perhaps oh say, the Republicans have been.  Cuz, you know, CNN is so fair and balanced and all that.

Intelligent design costs prof his job
Regents reject tenure request without evidence, testimony

The Discovery Institute said it also had reviewed the e-mail record regarding Gonzalez’ teaching, and found “an orchestrated campaign conducted against Dr. Gonzalez by his colleagues, with the intent to deny him tenure because of views he holds on the intelligent design of the universe.”

As WND reported earlier, Gonzales was one of three members of the ISU faculty denied promotion or tenure of the 66 considered at the time.

The rejection followed earlier opposition to his work because of his acknowledgment of intelligent design. In 2005, three ISU faculty members drafted a statement and petition against intelligent design in the science curriculum that collected 120 signatures.

“We … urge all faculty members to uphold the integrity of our university of ‘science and technology,’ convey to students and the general public the importance of methodological naturalism in science, and reject efforts to portray intelligent design as science (my emphasis),” the statement said.

Soooo…get into an discussion with an evolutionist about ID, and they will invariably trot out the, “SHOW ME THE PROOF!  GIVE ME SOME EVIDENCE!”  And yet, time and again Universities engage in this kind of intellectual gatekeeping , effectively ensuring that you CAN’T build a case for ID, because the powers that be have made an arbitrary decision that it’s “not science.”

So, they require evidence, while preventing professors from presenting any.  They want scientific evidence, but won’t examine any evidence from an ID guy because it’s not science.  I believe that’s called a “catch-22.”

Gigantic fossil rodent discovered

The authors say the animal would have lived alongside carnivorous “terror birds” and sabre-toothed cats.

“If you are a rodent you cannot run so well so you would have had to fight with these predators,” said Dr Rudemar Ernesto Blanco of the Institute of Physics in Montevideo, Uruguay, one of the authors of the paper.

“It might have reached this size to protect itself.”

To protect itself.  Yet another example of one of my pet peeves when dealing with evolution.  The idea that the species somehow adopted a certain form “in order to” respond to its environment.  As in, due to the size and number of predators, this rodent made itself larger to increase its own survivability.

Perhaps it was merely a symantical gaff, but, this sort of thing seems to happen quite often.  Why not just roll with the idea that at some point in pre-history, there grew some pretty honkin big rodent critters?  Why try to fold in this idea that the size was some situational or environmental “reponse?”

And, as I have repeatedly ask, can someone please point to the mechanism whereby this giant wombat someone “detected” the presence of large predators and thereby proceeded to reprogram its own DNA to grow larger in response?

This is almost too easy.

Skull Suggests Two Early Humans Lived at Same Time

Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolution with its knuckle-dragging ape and briefcase-carrying man.

The new research by famed paleontologist Meave Leakey in Kenya shows our family tree is more like a wayward bush with stubby branches, calling into question the evolution of our ancestors.

So you suddenly have some clear distinctions between the evolutionary paths of the human species, where before a linear and intrinsically linked sequential development had been held as near immutable for decades. Hey, you know the reason that it’s always been so hard to find that “missing link” guy?  Because. Maybe. It. Was. Never. There.

They have some still-undiscovered common ancestor that probably lived 2 million to 3 million years ago, a time that has not left much fossil record, Spoor said.

Yes. Absolutely. Continue to insist dogmatically on a common ancestor, despite the fact there is, by your own admission, no actual physical evidence for it.

This is and will continue to be my biggest beef with the anti-creationists/acolytes of the Temple of Evolution.  The hypocrisy.  The foundational tenet of evolution is a common ancestry, out of which sprang the multi-varied species of our world through all that adapting and responding and evolving into more complex forms (in violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics).  Therefore, evidence is categorized and framed only within that frame of reference, because it must be in order for the theory to remain valid.  Faced with two concurrently developing species, rather than sequentially as previously assumed (declared, heralded, decreed, whatever…), you therefore INFER an ancestor who existed even earlier than previous estimated, despite the lack of evidence, because it must be true if the theory is to remain viable

You establish as “fact” that which must be true in order for your worldview to conform to your pre-established expectations, despite being unable to provide any evidence of it.  And this is different from the creationists how?

Someone, somewhere, I believe, said that creationism would remain in the realm of religious faith and wishful thinking until the creationists/ID folks could provide solid scientific evidence of a creator or design influence.  So, where does that put the evolutionist in light of this imaginary common ancestor which now MUST exist, where before it didn’t, and despite any “solid scientific evidence,” simply because evolutionary theorists demand it in order to preserve their canon manifesto holy book St. Darwin of Galpagosea  theory?

Ah, you poor misguided soul, they say as they sadly shake their collective heads with the long-suffering indulgence of a saint.  The evidence for the common ancestor is clearly the two simultaneously developing offshoots, and if you weren’t such a wild-eyed, unscientific, Bible-thumping creationist, you’d be able to see that. Tsk, tsk, tsk.  You know, despite the fact that previously the evidence for a common ancestor was a single, unbroken line of evolutionary development.  Now, away with you, neophyte!  Do YOU have a PHD? NO?  Well then, trouble me no more with your plebian babblings.

I believe someone, somewhere called that “shifting the goalposts.”  Another quote, in chuckling about those wacky creationists, said something to the effect of:

If a fossil is discovered to cover a gap between two species, they’ll shout – “Look, there are two gaps now, on either sides of the fossil”

Uh, yeah.  And if a gap is discovered between two species, some people say, “Look, there must be a common ancestor we don’t know about 2 or 3 million years ago.”  I can TOTALLY see the difference there.

Overall what it paints for human evolution is a “chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us,” Spoor said in a phone interview from a field office of the Koobi Fora Research Project in northern Kenya.

That old evolutionary cartoon, while popular with the general public, keeps getting proven wrong and too simple, said Bill Kimbel, who praised the latest findings.

And yet that is what continues to be published in textbooks.  

Scientists hadn’t looked carefully enough before to see that there was a distinct difference in males and females.

Why? Because they needed an intermediate species to help fill gaps in the fossil record.  And so in with an emphasis on supporting the prevailing meme, they failed to properly (read: objectively) analyze the information.  Oooh. Ouch.  MeOW.

All the changes to human evolutionary thought should not be considered a weakness in the theory of evolution, Kimbel said. Rather, those are the predictable results of getting more evidence, asking smarter questions and forming better theories, he said.

Color me shocked.  Shocked, I tell you.  Let me translate:  “Despite how completely this throws our understanding of evolutionary theory into a freakin chaotic mess, let’s make sure that we don’t abandon our fundamental premises.  And make sure that we color these finds in shades of ‘refining’ evolutionary theory, rather than having to basically start over from scratch when it comes to human evolution.”

Again.  Evidence can only be examined in the context of evolution.  If the evidence rocks your world, you change your theory….of evolution.   You come up with a new theory…of evolution.  In the proudest tradition of the scientific method, you take a cold, calculating, objective look at the data, and smoosh the theory around until it fits the evidence, or you “interpret” the evidence to fit the theory.  As long as the new shape still looks like evolution.

Because it’s the only game in town….and the people with the power to do so intend to make sure it stays that way.

Well, I had thought to gin up one last creationsim post, but from reading the comments on and from several other anti-creationism (or in some cases, anti-creationIST) blogs, I’ve come to the sobering, if not unsurprising conclusion that as far as “science” is concerned, the battle is over and creationism lost.  And anyone who hasn’t yet awoken to this reality is just tilting at windmills, getting all red in the face as they wave their Bible at you and call you a heretic.

Creationism is presumptively defined within the “scientific community” as inherently unscientific.  It is a cut and dried, either/or proposition.  It’s evolution (and thus science), or creationism/ID and theological posturing.  This is the corporate position, and the only acceptable view.

 Any attempts to approach the issue from any other viewpoint are met with the sort of indulgent head-patting and amused smiles usually reserved for young children and Alzheimer’s patients.

 Hard to fight that.

So, failing that, I return to one of my tried and true favorite pastimes:  making fun of the Democrats.

Found this link somewhere.  It’s a very disturbing (if not completely unsurprising) example of the moral “mandate” so many Dems feel to circumvent established law if it serves their higher cause.

http://www.danegerus.com/weblog/Comments.asp?svComment=18096

Read through it.  Amazing stuff.  Don’t like the results of the vote?  Change the results.  Heyyyyy, wait a minute.  Now wasn’t it the Dems who were screaming the loudest about voter disenfranchisement and a “stolen election?”   Hmmm.  Funny, that.

Dropped off the net for a while, literally, as my internet access went kerflooie, until I figured out I had a bad modem.  Swapped that out and Tada!  Back on the web.

Well, I kind of lost some steam with the creationism bit, but I wanted to drop in one more post, in response to Brian Switek’s response to me, entitled “Why fight creationism?

 Again, the crux of his argument seems to be something along the lines of because it’s unscientific, and therefore clinging to Biblically-based creationism is rather akin to suffering under religious authoritarianism such as experienced by Da’vinci and other “heretics” of the past.  Well, more concisely, his view seems to be that combatting creationism is a waste of valuable time better spent on researching actual science, especially since creation-science types are pretty much writing themselves out of the mix anyway.

If I haven’t made it clear before, let me reiterate:  I don’t in any way mean to suggest that creationist views and religious ideology should supplant the scientific method.  I enjoy science.  I love learning about the way our world works and the amazing complexity and interdependence of the life and natural processes of this world.

I just don’t happen to think it within the realms of possibility that it could all just “happen” through a series of random accidents and fortuitous spontaneous breakthroughs.

In his well-written and erudite response, Brian however commits himself to the same flaws in logic of which I wrote here, specifically, a vague anthropomorphization to explain the internal mechanism whereby a species adapts to an external change in environment.  Here are some specific examples:

provided the selective pressure for the lobe-finned fish to develop limbs and crawl to other pools as to avoid death.

would have given creatures like the ancestors of tetrapods good reason to develop their lungs and start exploiting food along the shore than to try swimming through the thick vegetation of the water habitats.

they were marvelously pre-adapted by evolution to exploit a new niche

An external change gave the tetrapods a “good reason to develop their lungs.” Okay, so they’ve got the reason. Now what?  Do they think to themselves, “Hmm, guess it’s probably a good time to develop lungs.  Ready…..GO!

Clearly a silly example; or is it? Examples such as these seem so suggest that species respond in an almost cognitive fashion, and that this somehow results in a kind of genetic memory that is imprinted on their DNA.  What’s the real answer?  “Evolution,” (as in the proper noun) was kind enough to “pre-adapt” species (and by that I take to mean “build in?”) the capability to exploit a new niche?  So Evolution pre-engineered in capabilities? Tetrapods were given a reason to developed their lungs?  Lobe-finned fish responded to selective pressure, pushed up on their arms, and “decided” to leave the water in order to avoid death?  The water murks up, the plants move in, and you have a choice: adapt or die.  So you adapt. Huh?

H-O-W!?!?!

If I understand correctly, the tetrapod already had the capability to breath air, it just didn’t know it, as it was too busy breathing water.  But, when the water option ran out, in a last ditch, dying effort it said, “Screw it.  Here goes nothin’,” and launches himself up on the shore.  Gasp, gasp, gasp….hey.  Wait a minute.  I’m not dead!  Woo-hoo!  I can breath air!  Nice!  Good thing Nature built-in a previously unneeded capability to process air as well as water.  Now I just gotta find me a chick tetrapod with the same deal!  “Anyone?  Uh….anyone?”

“Dangit.”

This is exactly the kind of intellectual sleight of hand that causes me the most trouble with much of the current evolutionist theories.  To vaguely suggest that “Nature” did it or “Evolution” did it is NO DIFFERENT than saying that “God” did it!  Do you see what I’m trying to get at here?

What I want evolutionary theory to provide me, to provide us, to provide science the world over, is reproducible evidence of the the internal, bio-chemical mechanism whereby RNA and DNA, all those little peptides and amino acids are re-arranged or reprogrammed, how from one generation to the next they are imparted with new replication data that results in a different species, one now better suited to live on land, rather than water.  How does “Nature” pre-adapt a species to a range of potential changes?  And on a wide enough scale to ensure viability?

I’ll readily admit that much of my data on evolution might be a bit dated, as I’ve kind of been out of the “fight” for a few years.  However, from what I’ve been able to gather, evolutionary theory is still long on what happened, and a little short on the how it happened.  And to me, if you continue to insist on the what, without being able to provide the how, well then my friends, you are operating in faith as surely as that Bible-thumping creationist.